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CHILE: The Don Bosco Foundation holds its 21st National Collection to focus on projects for street children

(MissionNewswire) The Don Bosco Foundation, located in Santiago, Chile, is committed to providing shelter, social services and education to homeless youth. The foundation recently held its 2019 National Collection on July 5-6. This event gives an opportunity for those who are committed to helping street children share their stories and their projects. Celebrating its 21st year, the event is attended by people across the country.

In order to raise funding for participation in the event, the Salesian Schools Network held fundraisers, festivals and lotteries to ensure that as many people as possible could attend. One fundraising initiative brought together more than 2,000 volunteers who mobilized in cities across Chile to fundraise and ask for support from their local communities. The initiative also raised awareness about the plight of the homeless population.

According to a study by the Ministry of Social Development and the Family, at the end of 2018 there were 547 children and adolescents living or having lived in a street situation during the last year. The Minister for Social Development, Alfredo Moreno, said, “It is very difficult to remove all the people from the street, but with children it must be done absolutely.”

Since 1998, the Don Bosco Foundation has provided programs to assist vulnerable children and older youth who are faced with social isolation, exclusion and a lack of opportunities. The organization employs 170 people in three programs for street children and at-risk youth that include a family residence and a reception center for street children and is currently providing services to 192 street children.

“Children who find themselves in street situations are children who have a history of great victimization, violence and abuse. Therefore, they are children who often have found no other answer than to escape from their homes or even from child protection centers, which have failed to solve their problems,” explained Lorena Contreras of the Don Bosco Foundation.

The foundation also has an award-winning app that helps improve intervention for street children. The Registro Circuito de Calle (Register of Streets Circuit) app was developed by the Don Bosco Foundation in collaboration with Fundación País Digital of Microsoft Chile and DonaTec, an online donation program for the non-governmental agency, CDI Chile.

The app allows users to update mapping within a territory, providing intervention teams with online information that will increase their knowledge of the territories and enable support for planning visits to increase the chances of meeting with minors in the streets.

It also helps teams better plan their actions and social operations on the road so they can choose the most effective strategies for intervening with youth who are living in even the most hidden areas. In addition, the app will characterize the territories to better show the transit of minors as well as track what they do and what they are exposed to in those areas.

According to the World Bank, Chile has a fairly low poverty rate of 14.4 percent. However, the country struggles with high rates of income and education inequality. Salesian missionaries working in Chile focus their efforts on providing education and social services to poor and at-risk youth. At Salesian schools, universities and youth centers throughout the country, youth can access an education as well as the skills and resources necessary to break the cycle of poverty. As a result of the vocational and technical education provided by Salesian programs, Chilean youth are more likely to find stable employment and improve their standard of living.



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